Whether you’re an accomplished restaurateur or opening your first establishment, managing a restaurant is one of the toughest jobs. The constant juggling act of managing staff performance, customer satisfaction, finances, marketing and operations can often be overwhelming.

Thankfully, you’re not alone. Many other restaurant managers have been exactly where you are and documented how they came out stronger on the other side.

It’s important to learn from your peers’ successes, and what better way to do that than to curl up with a good book on the industry? These six books on restaurant management provide valuable insights and techniques on all aspects of running a restaurant.

1. Making the Cut: What Separates the Best from the Rest by Chris Hill

“What does it take to be successful?” This is the question that chef Chris Hill tries to uncover as he interviews the restaurant industry’s elite. Hill speaks to some of the best chefs in the world including Michelin star and James Beard Award winners and shares their triumphs and failures to inspire others in the industry. Hill has worked in the kitchen and in the corporate world and is a frequent speaker on restaurant leadership, entrepreneurship and overcoming business failure.

2. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

This best-selling novel tells the tale of 22-year-old Tess as she tries to find her feet in New York. After landing a front-of-house job at an acclaimed downtown restaurant, she has to quickly learn how to navigate her chaotic new life. Sweetbitter might be a work of fiction, but it provides an exciting perspective on the fast-paced restaurant industry and all its possibilities.

3. Front of the House: Restaurant Manners, Misbehaviors & Secrets by Jeff Benjamin

Front of the House is an excellent read for restaurant managers struggling with poor service. The book provides a comical behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to deliver great restaurant service — something that two-time James Beard Award nominee Jeff Benjamin has mastered. He shares his expertise on various aspects of service delivery such as the art of reservations, dealing with disgruntled customers, final impressions and many more.

4. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

This New York Times bestseller is a chronicle of all the wild, wonderful and hilarious tales of late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s experiences throughout his culinary career. He writes bluntly about what happens behind the scenes in many of the fine dining restaurants, highlighting the daily struggles facing restaurant managers and owners.

5. Restaurant Owners Uncorked by Will Brawley

Why read about the experience of one person if you can get guidance from 20 other restaurant owners? Restaurant Owners Uncorked is a compilation of interviews with restaurateurs who have achieved success across the culinary spectrum. The book offers practical advice for people aspiring to open a restaurant, those already operating one and anyone interested in learning how to run a successful business – restaurant or not.

6. Restaurant Success By the Numbers by Roger Fields

It’s an unfortunate fact that many new restaurants fall by the wayside. But your establishment doesn’t have to become a statistic. Restaurant buff and money guy Roger Fields uses real-life stories, including his own, to help restaurant managers and owners keep their doors open. He takes the reader through all the logistics of opening and operating a restaurant and how you can ensure long-lasting success.

Want some more reading material on how to be an excellent restaurant manager? Download The definitive 21st-century restaurant playbook.

Author : Rudi Badenhorst